Hong Kong with over a million people on the street in protest. (Image by Paul Wong / Shutterstock.com)

Central Hong Kong govt offices temporarily shut in anticipation of protests

The government of Hong Kong has temporarily shut down its Central Government Offices in Admiralty early this morning (21 Jun) in anticipation of another round of protests, as university students continue to push for the total withdrawal of the extradition Bill and Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s resignation.

South China Morning Post reported that nearly a thousand protesters donning masks and black clothing had gathered near the city’s Executive Council and government headquarters as of 9am, and that police officers had begun patrolling key subway interchanges such as Kowloon Tong and Admiralty.

Disruptions to road traffic and public transport, and mass picnics in Tamar and near Government House, Lam’s official residence are expected to take place today, SCMP added.

Civil rights activist Joshua Wong, who was released after a month in prison last Mon (17 Jun) related to the Occupy protests in 2014, is reportedly joining today’s protests in central Hong Kong.

Wong had participated in a protest near Tamar in downtown Hong Kong shortly after he was freed. He told CNN: “It’s really good timing to join the fight for freedom and democracy”.

“Five years ago after the end of the Umbrella Movement, we claimed we would be back. Yesterday 2 million people came to the streets … it shows Hong Kong people realize this is a long term battle,” he added.

Founding chairman of the opposition Democratic Party and senior politician Martin Lee told Bloomberg on Fri that the extradition Bill is “a thoroughly bad idea”, adding that “Hong Kong people can only continue to demonstrate, and I hope peacefully, so that the world, the rest of the world, will speak up for us”.

President of the Chinese University Student Union Jacky So Chun told SCMP that 10 student unions will be announcing their action plan on Friday afternoon as the crowd grows.

So said: “We have been discussing this with various pro-democracy groups … We will wait until people can at least fill the whole Legco demonstration area”.

University student groups earlier on Wed (19 Jun) had urged the Hong Kong government to withdraw the extradition Bill completely, to release all arrested protestors from police custody, and to subsequently mete out appropriate punishment against police officers found guilty of using excessive force in dealing with protestors.

Provisional executive committee member of City University’s student union Joey Siu told SCMP: “If we don’t get a response by tomorrow [20 Jun], we will escalate our protests.”

William Chan Wai-lam similarly told SCMP that students will swarm government headquarters in Admiralty should the government continues to refuse to do away with the extradition Bill.

Chan also encouraged “self-initiated civil disobedience movements by any peaceful means possible” such as flooding train stations with protestors.

Council Front legislator Claudia Mo Man-ching told SCMP: “We urge [students] to stick to the principle of ‘no bloodshed, no arrests, no sacrifice”, adding that her party will be joining the protests should the government refuses to concede.